Editor’s Note: Sorry folks if your comment went into moderation. Many of the comments on this post have been directed to moderation. I’m guessing that the reason for this is that words like Viagra and some of the brands on birth control pills are considered spam. So if your post takes a while to come up, don’t worry.
Today I had the pleasure, or should I say displeasure, of reading this article. The article notes that more and more women are taking hormonal contraceptives that are designed to stop menstruation, not for a few weeks, but for months and even years. I can’t speak for anybody else, but personally I want my period. For me, my menstrual cycle is a sign that my body is functioning normally. And when I have early or late periods, especially late ones, I tend to be under stress. I am reminded how stress influences my body. What struck me about this article was the very negative description of menstruation. In particular I was struck by the notion that women of childbearing age have to “endure” the “nuisance.” Yes, nuisance is used as a synonym for menstruation in the article.
I understand that many women wish they never had a period, and I realize they are willing to use these methods to stop their periods. I think if they technology is available and women want to do it, then women should have the freedom to chose this as an option. However, I am very skeptical of the long term consequences for women. This article makes it seem as if our normal bodily processes need to be stopped or controlled by pharmaceutical companies and their surrogates–doctors. There are no conclusive long term studies on using hormonal methods to stop menstruation, so we don’t know what if any are the risks of this. The article even mentions a new implantable device that can stop menstruation for three years, which concerns me a little…I certainly hope this isn’t Norplant redux.
Another thing that concerns me about stopping menstruation is what actually happens if the woman does have an unintended pregnancy. How much longer would it take her to realize this? I understand that when used perfectly these methods are very effective at preventing pregnancy, but this is one of the reasons I wouldn’t want to use a method that stops my period. I would be worried that I wouldn’t know if I was pregnant.
But my biggest concern about these methods is that the way they are advertised. The advertising makes it seem as if our normal bodily processes are somehow bad, flawed, or deviant. Can you imagine a pill being invented that would stop men from ejaculating…they could still have the orgasm, but not the “nuisance” of semen, “which is really unnecessary unless you are trying to impregnate a woman.” My personal belief is that a period is more than a nuisance. This reminds me of the rhetoric against breastfeeding from 50 years ago, especially the idea that science can do better than women’s bodies. I am by no means trying to join the war against birth control here. I am just questioning how our (women’s) bodies are portrayed.
So what do you think? If you’re a woman, would you want your period to stop? How do you feel about the safety of these methods of stopping menstruation? Would you be willing to use such methods?
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